I've always preferred the intense discipline and repetition of stretching, ballet class, and rehearsals over the adrenaline of the final show. Degas was equally fascinated by all this behind-the-scenes work and chose to represent it in over 1,500 paintings, pastels and drawings of dancers.
|My friends at the barre|
at the rehearsal studio back in the spring
Not surprisingly, Degas exercised the same discipline in his painting. "Dancers at the Barre" was re-worked over a period of 20 years, with Degas changing positions of legs and feet about eight times on this same canvas.
|Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas' "Dancers at the Barre", early 1880s to c. 1900s|
at The Phillips Collection
The resulting painting may be physiologically impossible -- but it is Art. You could say the same about Ballet.